Monday, September 29, 2008

happily. fondly. mistakenly. seldomly. finally.

Whenever I'm feeling a little displaced, I look for inspiration to refresh my spirit. I decided to represent some of my current inspirations above in this little collage.

Another road trip is underway. I spent last night in a motel room on Vancouver Island. I always sleep soundly in this place, but it feels strangely like a movie set or something. The highlight of the trip so far has been getting to have the best szechuan beef in the universe for dinner, as I insisted that we make a pit stop at the Quality Foods in Comox on our way back last night.

This last little while has been a whirlwind of unearthing, settling again, and preparation.There will be lots of miles in the next couple weeks. I love this alone time in my travels. My thoughts are changing daily, dramatically and drastically.
I need more sleep.

Photos in this post are not property of Work In Progress.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Quirky Is Cool

I swear that someday I will write a screenplay, because there are so many unique and offbeat characters who live in my head. I love watching and analyzing people. To be completely honest, I am fascinated, inspired and in deep, meaningful love with some of the strangest characters on film. There is always something about them. I find myself inexplicably drawn to them, preoccupied by how they dress, how they talk and their strange mannerisms. Perhaps most important are their odd quirks, which somehow seem charming and original. Maybe I love these quirky girls because I can identify with them to such a large degree. If you come by this blog regularly, you know that I'm pretty weird, myself. It's quite possible that I find comfort in these characters because they make me feel less...crazy? They also happen to be incredibly endearing to watch.

This is a little tribute to some of my favourite quirky female characters who have appeared on the big screen.

Photo: Oscar Guy

Recently, I mentioned my strong identification with Woody Allen's character, the neurotic Cristina, in his latest film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Woody also happens to be behind one of the originals: Annie Hall. She is verbose and eccentric. With the bright, effortless smile and casual charm of Annie, you could happily be seduced by the dark side and spend some time in her company. Her mis-matched way of dressing was copied by many women during the late ‘70s; however, you do not have to wear a floppy bowler hat to relate to her. We see her at her weakest, her strongest and when she is downright unlikeable. She is a fully dimensional woman, and as all Allen women can, smartly articulates her way through all of this. She's intelligent as hell, her sassy mouth and quick wit leave this in no doubt. She often talks too much, gives too much of herself away with her constant free-association way of communicating but somehow manages to maintain a whimsical mystery about her. As the film is Alvy’s interpretation of the failed romance, Annie is never fully understood. Through his eyes we see her as an unknown secret that will always possess power over him. It is this ambiguity that breathes life into the role and elevates Annie from that of a realistic portrayal to one permeated with love and nostalgia.

Photo: Soledad Madeira on Flickr

Margot Tenenbaum is sullen, a little twisted and totally pouty. She's odd, there's no doubt about that. Her Lacoste tennis dress, vintage slip and dainty barrette are always contrasted by the melancholy of her smoky eye-liner, heavy fur coat and blunt hair cut. She is adopted. After a childhood of feeling unwanted, she ran away to find her original parents and came home two weeks later with half a finger missing. One winter she and her brother Richie (who she is in love with) ran away from home and camped out in the Egyptian wing of the public archives. Most often she is moping in her bathtub, watching television, or ignoring her husband. She is infamously secretive. Margot is not only a playwriting prodigy, but also a book critic; she wrote a negative review of Eli Cash's latest book despite the fact that she and Eli are lovers. The sadness of her unrequited love, I believe, comes across in her style.

"She was known for her extreme secrecy. For example, none of the Tenenbaums knew she was a smoker, which she had been since the age of 12. Nor were they aware of her first marriage and divorce to a recording artist in Jamaica. She kept a private studio in Mockingbird heights under the name 'Helen Scott'. She had not completed a play in seven years."
The Royal Tenenbaums

Photo: Daria Lois

Amélie is another slightly off-kilter character, who I absolutely adore. She's not conventionally beautiful or perfect, but rather a normal person with normal problems. One day she discovers a forgotten box in her bathroom. It contains the childhood mementos of a small boy who lived in her apartment years ago. She vows to find the owner and return the box, and if he reacts positively, she will keep doing things to help people. The man tears over with joy, and a new hero is born. She looks at the people around her and decides that she will be the person to make their lives better. She concocts a plan to set up two lonely people, help an elderly painter who lives in her apartment, and help her father emerge from the cocoon he built around himself after the death of Amelie's mother. Nino collects torn photographs found underneath picture booths and reassembles them. Amélie fancies herself as Zorro (in some amusing black and white sequences), which is a fitting description.

Photo: Mayi_Madditxu on Fotolog

Wednesday Adams takes me right back to my childhood, and tends to cater to that somewhat vaguely goth aesthetic (similarly shared by Emily The Strange who, I do admit, I have a certain lingering fondness for,) As fictional characters, they can carry these strong looks effortlessly, be these funny strange girls on the page and on film with their missing fingers and decapitated dolls. Wednesday's personality is severe, with a deadpan wit and a morbid interest in trying to inflict harm upon her brother.

"I'm a homicidal maniac, they look just like everyone else. "
Wednesday Adams

Photo: juniormassacre on Flickr

Then, there are girls like Clementine Kruczynski, the dysfunctional free spirit from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. She's an odd, funny, outgoing and attractive lady. There's her brightly coloured hair that's always changing and that orange hoodie (I searched high and low until I found one like it), not to mention a whole array of weird conglomerations of outfits. She's not particularly nice, but I just can't help but be drawn to her, and the personality that 'promises to take you out of the ordinary'. There is something about her, just like in all of them, in her manner of speaking and thoughts and ideas, that is deeply appealing to me. She definitely has all the drive, curiosity, daring, and energy in this relationship.

"I'm sorry I came off kinda nutso. I'm not, really."
Clementine Kruczynski

Photo: The Bath Tub

I also couldn't even write this entry without a mention of Holly Golightly from Breakfast At Tiffany's. She's the eccentric socialite who is generally considered to be Audrey Hepburn's most memorable and identifiable role. Ms. Golightly, a young carefree girl with dark and bruised past, dreamed and traveled to New York City to escape her sordid life. At the time the narrator meets her, she is eighteen years old, thin, and has unconventionally short, boyish hair. A child bride who escaped her impoverished Texas roots at the age of fourteen, Holly makes a living as a companion to various wealthy and important men, who lavish her with money and expensive presents. With the aid of the narrator, Holly escapes New York after she has been arrested for conspiracy with a Mafia-backed narcotics ring, and begins a new life in South America. She is characterized as a person who is charming and naive yet deliberately flighty, promiscuous, and intensely preoccupied with herself. She is one of my favourite characters of all time, without a doubt.

"You know what's wrong with you, Miss Whoever-You-Are? You're chicken, you've got no guts. You're afraid to stick out your chin and say, 'okay, life's a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that's the only chance anybody's got for real happiness.' You call yourself a free spirit, a wild thing, and you're terrified somebody's going to stick you in a cage. Well, baby, you're already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it's not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somaliland. It's wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself." -Breakfast At Tiffany's

The definition of quirky is "strikingly unconventional" and that's what all of these dynamic women have in common. Who the hell wants to be ordinary or conventional, anyway? Being strange is sjust so much more interesting...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'm Not Really Emo...

Photo: hello bum on Flickr

It's pretty easy to get caught up in the the negative aspects of our lives. I think that one of the best ways to get excited about your life though, is to take stock of the things in it which are magnificent, fabulous & delightful! If you do this regularly, it starts to become a way of thinking, and you feel like your life is full of glory & wonder, rather than lacking. It’s one of the best ways I know to start feeling real happiness. Since it's been a rough week already (and it's only Wednesday) plus somebody accused me of being Emo, here's my attempt at pointing out the positive things on my radar at the moment. Without further adieu, here's a list of...

Things I'm Loving This Week:

  • The taste of fall, also known as pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks
  • Big, comfy men's sweatpants on cool autumn nights
  • The Vintage Society
  • Marc by Marc Jacobs' Staples & Studs satchel- I want one!
  • Yummy burgers from inside the cozy Bayside Lounge, when it's pouring rain outside- Ramona Quimby style (thanks for rescuing me tonight, m&d)
  • The brand new Venice mids that arrived in time for me to wear on my upcoming roadie
  • Lovely friends who are keen for adventures and full of support. xo
  • The new Jenny Lewis record, Acid Tongue (which I only know about because of a certain lovely friend)
  • Today's visit from one of my favourite shop owners and his adorable pooch
  • Paul Arden books, including It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be
  • Lipgloss that tastes like candy floss
  • Baby Mama
  • Talking in fake accents (I know, I'm weird)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One Thing Hasn't Changed

Photo: Original Source Unknown

I still feel the same right before
our eyes are on the same line-
that beating heart, that swaggering smile-
not sure whether to laugh,
or swallow hard.

When our eyes meet
across the room,
it feels like you're holding me...
and then I look away.

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's Coming Down Again

Back to some kind of autumn feeling; the rain, and bundling up. I was delighted to discover that the heat in my apartment had come on this evening.

I've been a bit of a maniac lately. Alternating between obsessively cleaning and making a mess of my living quarters. Papers are everywhere, highlighters, catalogues, books, post-its, photos, piles of pieces of my life. I'm deciding what should be erased, and what I should cling to.

The attempt to try and convince is tiring on my bones.

I had a reality check this weekend. It made me see what I need to be like, and what I'm not like anymore. It made me wonder what I want, and why it is that I don't know exactly what I want.

There's a light, dizzy feeling- it's in my throat and the bottom of my feet. I keep ignoring it.


A quiet night in...
and listening....

I like this night.

I love the fall. I'm wearing my favourite wool sweater and drinking a mug of hot chocolate.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What Is This Feeling?

Photo: Artsy22 on Flickr

I'm slowly seeing something
that I want.
Something sensitive,
but real.

I like real.

I am seeing that.

It's about real life,
and the little things.

Please let it only get closer.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yesterday Is Here

“If you're comfortable with yourself, then it's sexy. Maybe people think I look sexy because I feel sexy. I am a very liberated person that way. I'm very comfortable with my sexuality, my body, my face - well, sometimes I'm not comfortable with my face, but it's stuck there and there's nothing I can do about it.” -Scarlett Johansson

Yesterday I told you all about how much I love her latest film. Today, it seemed only fitting that I do a little tribute to Scarlett Johansson, because I think that she's divine. I have adored so many of the films on her resume, including Ghost World, Lost In Translation, Match Point, Scoop, even In Good Company and The Nanny Diaries. She made a bold move last May when she released a record consisting of one original song and ten cover versions of Tom Waits songs. This caused some anger for certain serious Tom Waits fans. I still love her though.

Scarlett Johansson's classic beauty, timeless approach to fashion and powerful yet graceful presence make her the epitome of real Hollywood glamour.

An elegant and blatantly sexy woman, Scarlett may be young, but her acting skills put her amongst many of the most seasoned actresses in the business. I think that her unique and at times quirky sense of style really reflects that maturity level.

Maturity in fashion is achieved through an understanding of what works and what doesn’t. This babe understands this, as she dresses for herself and doesn't simply follow the trends. She wears what she likes and what suits her much-envied curvy figure. She is blessed with the voluptuousness that marked great screen sirens of the past. Scarlett doesn’t hide it, rather she revels in playing with nostalgia. She really likes to experiment with fashion. If you ask me, this makes her all the more endearing and interesting to watch. She's a virtual chameleon.

**Photos in this post are not property of Work In Progress. The images above have been taken from various websites. If your photo has not been credited and you would like it to be, please e-mail me.**

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Some Kind Of Counterintuitive Love"

"Life is short, life is dull, life is full of pain. This is a chance for something different. "—Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem)

Last Saturday, I did something that I have never done before. I went to see a movie at the theatre all by myself (gasp!) I'd been dying to see Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and most of my regular movie buddies had either already seen it, didn't want to see it, or our schedules just didn't seem to be lining up. So when I found myself with an afternoon free, it seemed like a perfect opportunity.

I'm thankful that I took it because I absolutely LOVED the movie.

It's narrated in a post-modern storybook sort of way with all the twists and turns of any complex Woody Allen film. I am a big Woody Allen fan because of the intelligence he brings to his films, and because they inevitably explore, with humour and idiosyncratic introspection, the limits of the human condition. There's also the fact that I tend to be able to relate to his characters, you know, being that I am completely self-aware, complicated and totally neurotic.

In this particular case, I was quite blown away by just how much I could relate to Scarlett Johansson's character, Cristina. She has blond hair and loves movement and experience. She is restless and unfulfilled. She yearns to be an artist, maybe a filmmaker. She's already directed a short film in New York, but she hates the way it turned out. She feels a deep connection with art but isn't quite sure if she's gifted. She’s an insecure woman who is looking for love in all the wrong places, but remains a hopeless romantic. She is open to possibilities and growth, unsure of every step she takes, but seems to know that it will lead to something that could be better. Cristina is not sure what she wants, only what she doesn't.

The crux of my fascination with this film, however, was to watch the two female central characters of the title wrestle with what it means to be happy, each coming at it from wildly divergent perspectives.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona has a beautiful romantic glow about it. It is most definitely a must-see for anyone who ponders the human condition and enjoys interesting stories that force your brain to contemplate life. This film led me to reflect about the kinds of love that I have in my life, the kinds of love I've pined for, what I've had and lost and what my heart craves.

Perhaps the point is that there is no such thing as perfect love. This is precisely why I'm trying so hard to live in the moment, to take the reality of it for what it is, enjoy the hell out of it, and move on when it no longer works. I can't help thinking that this way, at least I will understand the beauty of the moment, of the people who populate it, and the backdrop that sets that moment; because, from what I can tell, that's where the real honesty lies.

MGM/The Weinstein Company

Monday, September 15, 2008

She's Ready To ROCK

If there was ever a girl who could fill Corrie Miller's shoes as the co-host and traffic reporter on Rock 101's Bro Jake Show, obviously it's the fabulous Shawna Olsten.

My friend Shawna is one of 32 finalists selected to compete for the opportunity to be Rock 101's first ever ROCK GIRL [details].

No stranger to the spotlight, Shawna basically rocks at everything she does. Whether she's working or playing, ruling at Rock Band, running a quick 10km, or kicking ass at morning bootcamp, one thing is for sure: Shawna knows how to bring it. She even kills it when it comes to human powered flying competitions, seriously. Not just another pretty face, this blonde bombshell also happens to be a CHAMP.

Over the next six weeks, Shawna will be jumping through all kinds of hoops and hoping to score enough points to soar above her competition.

Now, we all know she's awesome, but she's going to need your love and support to WIN this thing and rule the airwaves.

Click HERE to cast your vote for Shawna (once every 24 hours). Your votes can help launch her further into fabulousness as Rock 101's ROCK GIRL. Please, show this babe some love now.

UPDATE: Shawna made the Sweet 16! Check out her audition video below and please KEEP VOTING!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Pleasure Principle

Getting to see Janet Jackson live in concert last night was like watching my whole life flash before my eyes. As the night went on, I was basically reminded of every single phase I've gone through since childhood. Her music has quite literally been in the background of my life since elementary school. Unlike other artists in the pop genre who have had their fleeting moment in the spotlight and then faded away into oblivion, Janet has withstood the test of time. She's remained an individual and a trail blazer in an increasingly saturated industry, filled with wannabes and copycats. Janet is the real deal.

Kristina, Deanna and I arrived at GM Place early to find our seats in the upper bowl. Tickets prices were steep, so we all agreed that since we go to so many shows, we'd better start opting for cheaper tickets to some of them. Our seats upstairs were great though, and we were pleased as punch- that is, until we discovered that (despite rumours running rampant on the radio all day long) LL Cool J would not be opening the show. Rather, a DJ would take the stage and basically play The Beat's regular rotation of bullshit for an hour before the show started. Yawn fest 2008.

After a brief intermission, the lights went off again and it was time for the show to start. I could feel my heart pounding with excitement as the music for The Pleasure Principle began. When she came out on stage, Janet's look reminded me of the video for Control. She was thicker than she typically is for a tour and her hair was big and poofy. I liked how it reminded me of 1986. (On a side note, I secretly enjoy the fact that Janet struggles with her weight like the rest of us normal girls- and let me just say, her body looked hot, and dang, can she move it- no matter what size she is!)

In the first 10 minutes, Janet powered through four hits, covering material from her vast musical catalogue. It was at this point that I noticed Kristina was no longer beside me. I looked up to see that she was running toward us with three tickets for the lower bowl in her hand and a huge smile on her face. Turns out, due to the crazy ticket prices, the show hadn't sold out, so they were offering upgrades to those seated in our section. SCORE! We ran as fast as we could down the stairs and quickly settled into our new seats in row 19 (which FYI, were $160 at face value). We were pumped!

The show was absolutely incredible, from start to finish. A true entertainer, Janet Jackson did not disappoint. She did oh so many hits (including If, the video for which I wrote a whole report about back in grade six for my class "Music: An Articulation.) At one time, I knew all the choreography from that video too (oh, who am I kidding? I could still bust out some moves.) Her set list contained more memories than I have room to share here. I loved every single song that she performed and she performed every single song that I love.

Random Highlights and Notes from the Night:

  • The zillions of costume changes kept things interesting. I must admit, I definitely didn't love them all (or any of them), but the frequency at which they happened was certainly fun. Her first costume (which she happens to be wearing in every photo that the papers and gossip sites have chosen to publish) was by far the least flattering.
  • I was completely in awe of the energy oozing from the 42 year-old singer as she pulled some of the most incredible dance moves capable of by the human body. Clearly channelling her brother Michael at some moments, it was obvious that performing is second nature to this babe. She does it flawlessly.
  • The threesome- two girls and a guy-who were in the row in front of us were absolutely adorable and quite entertaining in their own right. They danced their asses off like I've never seen before and sang every single word. They were shakin' their booties with as much ambition as the nine dancers trying to keep up with Janet on stage. Notable quotes heard coming from their group included: "I think I have heartburn!" and "Show us your boob! We want a wardrobe malfunction!"
  • The "finger point" seems to be the signature dance move for the classic "Janet Fan." There were fingers pointing everywhere in that place last night. I'm lucky that I didn't lose an eye.
  • Janet was openly sobbing on stage at one special moment. (I'm sure it won't surprise any you that I almost cried too.) It was clear how blown away she was by the response from the fans as we cheered and screamed and really just radiated love for her.

The stage, costumes and special effects were all remarkable and elaborate, but despite being so extreme, they didn't show her up. The soft spoken Miss Jackson was not so soft spoken on stage. She held the crowd in the palm of her hand from the moment that she emerged on stage. Her presence absolutely blew me away. I could not be more thankful that I finally got to see this truly fine performer do her thing live.

Now, if you'll please excuse me, I have to go practice my dance moves. Gimme a beat!